After five years in the Chair of the Mirboo North & District Community Foundation (the Community Foundation), Paul Pratt has stepped down from the role, passing the baton on to Vice-Chair, Rob Kiddell. The MN&D Community Foundation and the local community have benefited from Paul’s strong leadership of the organisation over this time, which has seen some $1 million distributed in grants and an investment of $1.9 million in a state-of-the-art medical centre.
The Community Foundation was set up 12 years ago this month as a perpetual fund to ensure the $5 million proceeds from the sale of Miboo North Aged Care facility would benefit the people of Mirboo North and surrounds for ever.
In the first few years, the organisation focused on setting up the structures, policies and procedures to ensure the prudent and transparent investment of the funds and then to ensure the distribution of the investment earnings for the benefit of the district through grants programs, sponsorship and capacity building.
The last six years have been more about engagement with the community, awareness raising and responding to need. In this phase, the Community Foundation has been able to show the benefits to the community of a perpetual charitable model (essentially akin to a community superannuation fund).
“As Chair for most of this second phase, Paul Pratt lead the Board through a shift in the organisation’s focus towards community engagement and impact,” explained Ruth Rogan, Executive Officer of the Community Foundation. “He was also key in building consensus within the organisation to make some significant decisions.”
Two significant decisions in the last few years include a large grant of $550,000 to the redevelopment of the Mirboo North pool in 2018 and the impact investment of $1.9 million in a purpose-built medical centre facility in 2020/21.
“The impact investment was a first for the Community Foundation; but it was not only a new departure, the project itself was very sizable in terms of the human and financial resources needed to make it happen,” noted Rob Kiddell, now Chair of the Community Foundation.
“Under Paul’s leadership, the Board considered this project in detail, even as the Covid pandemic brought significant volatility to our investment base,” says Ruth Rogan.
“We concluded that this impact investment was exactly the right strategy for the Community Foundation to strengthen the health of our community in collaboration with the existing Mirboo North Medical Centre,”added Rob.
Originally from England, Paul has been a member of this community since 1995, when he moved here with his wife Libby and their three children. He has been an active community member ever since, involved not only with the Community Foundation; he was President of the Mirboo North Football Netball Club for five years.
“As Chair, Paul enabled robust debate on the Board over his term, expressing his views clearly, but ensuring all Board members had the chance to express their views. He always remained open to the ideas and points that were discussed,” noted Ruth Rogan, Executive Officer.
“We are delighted that Paul will continue to be involved as a Director. His commitment to and support of our organisation has been instrumental in bringing us to where we are today and we would like to thank and acknowledge his very important contribution,” Rob Kiddell concluded.